A kayak is a type of boat used for recreational activity. Like most types of outdoor activities, kayaking can be an expensive hobby if buyers do not make informed decisions when purchasing equipment. There are a large number of manufacturers, all vying for the attention of new entrants to the sport. Therefore, buyers who understand basic techniques used in the sport can make smarter decisions about what equipment to purchase.
Outdoor activities often have an element of risk, and kayaking in no exception. Therefore, buyers should work with an accredited organisation for basic skills training, and learn how to undertake the activity in a safe and responsible way. This minimises the risk of an accident. Certain purchasing decisions can also help to minimise that risk, and consumers can look to online retailers such as eBay to help them make learn about products, make informed purchases, get good value for their money, and minimise the risk of injury.
How to Paddle a Kayak
The fundamentals of kayaking are about posture and positioning. When sitting in a kayak, users should sit completely back in the seat, so that the back is fully in contact with the seat. Thus positioned, users should then learn the correct position of the feet. The floor of the kayak has a number of foot wells. Using the right foot well makes paddling more comfortable, and also helps generate stronger stokes. Determining the proper foot well is easy. Users should completely straighten their legs, and bend the knees upwards until the feet encounter the first footwell. This is the right one to use. Using a foot well that is closer to the body can cause users to knock their kneecaps while paddling.
Once seating and foot placement are settled, the next step is to learn how to hold the paddle most effectively. With hands shoulder-width apart, grasp the paddle so that elbows form an angle of slightly less than 90 degrees. This should divide the paddle shaft into three equal lengths, from blade to hand, from the first hand to the second hand, and then from the second hand to the second blade.
All paddling starts with a simple movement: a forward power stroke. This is achieved simply by placing the blade in the water in front of the body, near the toes. The power of the stroke is delivered by moving the paddle back towards the body, while keeping it parallel to the boat. When it reaches the body, lift the paddle up and place the other blade in the water on the other side of the boat. Then repeat the stroke. Initially, focus must be given to the path the blade travels through the water. A smooth parallel path is needed to drive the boat forward. Do not let the paddle move out and away from the boat. This is called a sweep stroke, and may cause the boat to turn in the water, which is not what is required at this stage.
Three Golden Rules of Kayaking
Three golden rules lie at the heart of safe and efficient kayaking. If followed they can help any enthusiast enjoy the sport efficiently, comfortably, and safely.
Upper and Lower Body Separation
When paddling a kayak, users must cause their upper and lower bodies to work cooperatively, but independently of each other, at the same time. Upper and lower body separation means that both parts of the body can perform dual tasks. In other words, users should move from the hips at all times, to balance the kayak by moving the body both above and below the hips, to adjust weight and position.
Maintain a Power Position With the Arms
Serious injury, such as a dislocated shoulder, can be prevented by maintaining a correct power position. This is achieved by simply keeping the hands in front of the body at all times, so that the oar, the chest, and the user's two arms form a box. Maintaining the box is important, and as a stroke is needed towards the back of the boat the upper body should be rotated to ensure the box remains in place whilst the stroke is taken.
Keeping the torso flexible so that it can rotate and maintain the box position means that paddlers can make the best use of their upper body strength. Good torso rotation ensures that users harness maximum power when paddling. This minimises the strain on arm and shoulder joints, and significantly reduces the risk of injury.
How to Get Back into A Kayak After a Capsize
Capsizing is part of the fun and adventure of kayaking. Therefore, knowing how to get back into a kayak with the minimum effort is an important part of keeping the sport safe. There are a number of ways to do this, but the Bellybutton Backside Feet (BBF) method is a good start for beginners.
The boat may be upside down and should be righted first. This is done by simply reaching across the bottom of the boat and grabbing the scupper holes. With a gentle pull, the kayaker can then turn the boat over the right way.
Step 2 - Belly Button
Once the boat is righted, users should place their head near the cockpit section in the middle of the boat and let their feet float to the surface behind them. Once floating parallel to the surface, users should reach out across the boat to the far edge, and then swim up and onto the boat ending up with the bellybutton across the centreline of the boat.
Step 3 - Backside and Feet
Finally, users should roll towards the stern of the boat so that their backside fits into the seat, and then complete the manoeuvre by sitting up and swinging the feet into the footwell.
Transporting a Kayak
The easiest way to transport a kayak is by using a roof rack. A roof rack is a simple set of bars that fit securely on the roof of a car to support the kayak and other equipment. Many models accommodate a kayak saddle. When buying a roof rack with a saddle attachment, it is a good idea to make sure the bars of the roof rack are padded, to avoid accidental damage to the kayak's skin. The kayak should be placed upside down in the saddle, to prevent it from collecting rainwater. This also minimises wind interference on the journey. Once mounted in the saddle, the kayak should be secured using ropes tied to the roof rack's bars. To transport multiple kayaks, users can buy stackers that hold a number of kayaks on their side.
A cheaper alternative to a permanent roof rack is a soft roof rack. These are perfect for occasional use, and avoid the increased fuel consumption caused by a permanent rack. Soft racks are pads placed between the kayak and the roof, held in place with a series of straps. A second series of straps then secures the kayak to the pad. Kayaks are manufactured with a number of small openings, called scupper holes, which can be used to further secure the boat.
Basic Safety Considerations for Kayakers
All recreational activity carries an element of risk, but this can be minimised by good training. New kayakers should seek training from an accredited organisation, and should be sure to follow some simple, common sense rules at all times.
First, users should always check out the local weather conditions before setting off. Make preparations for bad weather, should it arise. Be sure to have appropriate bad weather clothing on hand. For example, users should bring wetsuits or drysuits in colder weather, and long-sleeved shirts to avoid sunburn in hot weather. Localised weather can be an issue, so users should watch out for strong offshore winds that might make returning to land difficult. If in doubt, ask someone.
Users must remember to never exceed the weight limits of a particular boat, because this can be extremely dangerous should the boat be incapable of supporting the paddler for long periods. Users should also practise getting back into a capsized kayak. It could save their life, as could wearing a lifejacket at all times. A good life jacket helps keep a capsized kayaker both afloat and warm.
When kayaking, users should always have a paddle plan and stick to it. In an emergency, if rescue organisations know the proposed paddle route, it makes finding paddlers in distress much easier.
How to Buy Kayaking Products on eBay
eBay offers a wide selection of kayaks, as well as kayaking accessories like paddles and lifejackets. You can start a search from any eBay page. Start by typing in the phrase "kayaks" into the search bar. If you are looking for something more specific, such as a particular kayak model, simply type that in, as well. eBay then returns all listings that contain your search terms in their item description.
Next, you can review the listings eBay has provided, by reading through the item descriptions to find the item you want. A good item description should contain most of the information you need, but if it does not, you can use the eBay message utility to ask the seller a question.
Read the seller's profile to find out more about who you are considering doing business with. You can read feedback about them left by previous eBay buyers they have traded with. The profile contains feedback from the previous twelve months so can give you an idea of what the seller is like to work with.
Every budding kayaking enthusiast needs some essential equipment to get started in the sport. Basic training can begin to give an idea of what to purchase, but finding a source for the equipment can sometimes be difficult. Specialty shops may not be conveniently located. Online retail platforms such as eBay offer shoppers the convenience of being able to shop from the comfort of their own homes, at any time that is most convenient for them.
Buying kayaking equipment online means buyers benefit from a wider range of goods than they would find in a traditional shop. Most shops can only display a limited range of kayaks because they have space restrictions. Shoppers who use eBay can get a far wider range of items to choose between. Should a particular item not be listed, it is easy to check back later; new items are being listed all the time.